endocrine disruptors: how chemicals and plastics might be ruining your health and making you fat

CHEMICALS AND PLASTICS
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A SAFE AMOUNT

Endocrine Disruptors

“Endocrine disruption is a named field of research which has been very active for over 10 years. A large number of chemicals have been identified as endocrine disruptors and humans can be exposed to them either due to their occupations or through dietary and environmental exposure (water, soil and air). Endocrine disrupting chemicals are compounds that alter the normal functioning of the endocrine system of both humans and wildlife.”  The opening sentences of the abstract of a July, 2015 study from the Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology (A Review on Endocrine Disruptors and their Possible Impacts on Human Health)
In 1992, the year I entered practice in Mountain View, there were no studies on Endocrine Disruptors; the chemicals that disrupt the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM or hormonal system.  The first one came out in 1993.  By 1997 there were 70, and by 2001 there were just over 400.  Fast-forward sixteen years and there are over 6,000.  We shouldn’t be surprised considering the fact that there are over eighty thousand chemicals in existence today that did not exist during WWII, with an estimated 2,000 plus being created annually.  Allow me to show you what peer-review says about the chemicals we are exposed to each and every day — the chemicals that have become ubiquitous with the way we live our lives — the chemicals we are saturating ourselves in.

Think about what your water pipes are made of.  Although copper tubing was the standard for a very long time, cost and ease of use forced a switch to polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) and now cross-linked polyethylene (PEX).  If you are interested in seeing just how toxic PVC is to your health, you can always read The Department of Health and Human Service’s Toxicological Profile for 1,2 Dichloroethane — a rather freaky 300 page document that actually shows how poorly the human body metabolizes this stuff.

The Endocrine Disruptor, however, that that continues to receive the most media play is BPA (Bisphenol A).  A popular online encyclopedia says that among other things, BPA is used for, “water bottles, sports equipment… used to line water pipes, as coatings on the inside of many food and beverage cans and in making thermal paper such as that used in sales receipts.”  As it should be, we are seeing a huge grass-roots push to get rid of BPA in these and similar applications. How’s this working out?  Last October, the journal Envoronmental Toxicology and Pharmacology looked at some of these alternates (Bisphenol AF, Bisphenol F, Bisphenol S, Bisphenol B, etc, etc).  What did the authors discover?  Only that, “these findings indicate that oxidative metabolites of bisphenols can still have endocrine activities in humans.”  In other words, touting these “alternatives” as BPA-free, while completely factual, is not really true.

This was echoed by an article published just a few months ago on Harvard University’s School of Public Health website called Harmful Chemicals Removed From Products Often Replaced with Something as Bad or Worse — a four paragraph piece you should read in its entirety. 

“This tactic—which researchers call “regrettable substitution”—has been used in the formulation of products such as pesticides, flame-retardant furniture, non-stick pans, and nail polish. The chemical replacements need only be different enough to be considered distinct by regulators. They don’t have to be proven safer.”

Huge numbers of these Endocrine Disruptors have a six-sided benzene or benzene-like configuration that looks suspiciously like the six-sided ring structures seen in many hormones, including ESTROGEN and certain THYROID HORMONES.  These are called XENOHORMONES and are almost always considered, among other things, to be “Obesegens” (they lead to obesity).  But in all honesty, obesity might just be the least of one’s worries.

In a study published in last April’s issue of Applied Toxicology (Correlation Between Antibodies to Bisphenol A, its Target Enzyme Protein Disulfide Isomerase, and Antibodies to Neuron-Specific Antigens), listen to what the authors say about BPA.  “Current accumulated evidence suggests that BPA is an endocrine disruptor and has the potential to impact fetal, child and adult health.  Many immunological mechanisms exist for BPA to induce autoimmunity, such as altered hepatic biotransformation, pituitary lactotrophic cell activation to synthesize prolactin, estrogen receptor endocrine disruption, altered cytokine expression, lipopolysaccharide‐induced nitric oxide promotion, altered antigen‐presenting cell reactivity, altered immunoglobulin activity, molecular mimicry and T‐helper (Th)17 aryl hydrocarbon receptor activation, which have all been shown to be induced by BPA exposure in animal and human studies. All of these mechanisms have also been found to play a role in autoimmune development.  BPA as a synthetic compound monomer alone is unlikely to trigger immunological antibody reactions or exert such diverse influences unless it can bind to enzymes or proteins leading to new antigenic epitopes.”

In English, this means that BPA helps push people toward an AUTOIMMUNE STATE because it affects the body’s ability to clear Xenohormones and Endocrine Disruptors via several distinct mechanisms, including LEAKY GUT SYNDROME (increased intestinal permeability), the TH-17 “SELF DESTRUCT” SYSTEM, altered T-REGS, an inability to clear toxic chemicals via PHASE I & PHASE II DETOX (the P-450 Cytochrome System among others) along with any number of others.  Just remember that your body will not make antibodies against BPA alone; it and similar chemicals must be attached to a protein.  In a previous study by these same authors (Elevated Levels of Antibodies Against Xenobiotics in a Subgroup of Healthy Subjects) they determined that about 15% of, “random blood donors presented with antibodies to BPA bound to human serum albumin” — the chief protein found in blood plasma.

According to these authors, BPA binds to the enzyme Potein Disulfide Isomerase (PDI).  This is a big deal because, “Myelin basic protein (MBP) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) are neuronal antigens that are target sites for neuroinflammation and neuroautoimmunity.”  To make a difficult study easier to comprehend for those of us who don’t have degrees in immunology, just realize that the authors found that people with MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS were virtually 100% assured to be making antibodies (Anti‐MBP and anti‐MOG) against the combination of BPA and their meylin sheath.  “Although there are many other neuron‐specific antigens, for this study we specifically focused on MBP and MOG. These myelin proteins are the immunological target site for neuroinflammation and neurological autoimmune diseases, and are directly associated with disease such as neuropathy and multiple sclerosis.”  In the discussion, they went on to conclude….

“Anti‐MBP and anti‐MOG were found in 78.5% of autistic children and were insignificant in normal subjects (Mostafa & Al‐Ayadhi, 2013). A recent publication found that metabolomics analysis showed the correlation between metabolite concentrations and total BPA was three times greater with subjects diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than the controls, and the number of absolute partial correlations for percentage bound BPA was 15 times higher with autism spectrum disorder (Stein et al., 2015). Anti‐MBP were also found significantly higher in 100 mothers of children with autistic disorder compared to 100 age‐matched unaffected children, leading to the possibility that there may be placental transfer of maternal antibodies in autism (Singer et al., 2008). Besides autism, anti‐MOG and anti‐MBP are key serum biomarkers to identify multiple sclerosis and have been found to be key predictive biomarkers for identifying future demyelinating events after onset of the disease (Berger et al., 2003).”

Did you catch that?  Not surprisingly, BPA is linked to AUTISM and neurodegenerative diseases (ALZHEIMER’S and PARKINSON’S are the most common) as well as being linked to developing MS later in life.  What does this mean?  Besides the obvious, there are several things that we can take away from studies like those discussed today.  One thing to think about pertains to a study that came out just two days ago in the journal Pediatrics (Early Puberty, Friendship Group Characteristics, and Dating Abuse in US Girls) where the authors concluded that girls who went through early puberty — becoming increasingly common thanks to crappy diets and Endocrine Disruptors — were more likely to be the victims of sexual abuse.

The bottom line is that Endocrine Disruptors will screw your body up in ways that you never could have imagined were possible.  Furthermore, what we see over and over agian in these studies that the exposure does not need to be very big — it only takes a little bit to cause some really serious problems.  It also means that you need to take care of your liver.  Your liver is the body’s chief center for clearing out toxic chemicals (HERE).  Lay people (self included) usually call this Detoxification.  Just remember that when you start looking at peer-review, researchers will always refer to this process as “Biotransformation” — your body’s ability to do things to alter these chemicals so they can be excreted from the body quickly and effectively.

If you are struggling with chronic health issues, make sure to read THIS ARTICLE about what it takes to take your health back into your own hands.  Sure, you might need to see an expert in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE to help you balance out your hormones, but it’s a great starting point.  Oh, and don’t forget to like or share our FACEBOOK PAGE if you like the free information on my site!

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